How to shop online when on the road

How to shop online when on the road

Dear RV Shrink:
rvshrinkWe have started traveling part of the year and living in a fifth wheel. So far it is everything we thought it would be. We are slowly working out the kinks.

One problem that drives us crazy is shopping online. Over the past few years a majority of our shopping is online. We miss the convenience now that we are on the road.

I noticed in last week’s RV Travel Newsletter that Amazon [article link] is beginning to sprout delivery lockers around the country. That’s great, but for now we are very frustrated with a lack of options for having our online purchases delivered to us.

We spend more time and money driving around looking for items we want when they are right here on our screen yet unreachable. Can you deliver for us a few ideas? —Frustrated in Freeport

Dear Frustrated:
It will get much easier real soon, but you don’t have to wait for lockers to appear. You would be surprised how many places are willing to let you ship your items to their address. You just need to plan ahead a bit and be willing to ask.

We have had items shipped to many state parks in our travels. The packages are delivered to the gate office and they let us know when they have arrived. The majority of commercial campgrounds will do the same.

With Amazon, you cannot specify which carrier you want, or can you? I was told if you use the words, “PO Box” in your address, Amazon automatically ships your package through the USPS. It just has to be within postal package sizes. So pick a small town post office (that’s important) and give Amazon your shipping address as “PO Box General Delivery.”

When I long-distance hike I ship myself boxes of food and my Amazon purchases this way, and the post office will hold it for up to 30 days.

One more nugget of info. You have to use the “Standard Shipping” option. This takes several days, so plan accordingly. Prime member packages go UPS or FedEx. Order ahead to give your package plenty of time to arrive. That way you know it will be there when you show up and not have to drop anchor too long waiting for your ship(ment) to come in.

Same with your mail. Pick a small town post office. They are less busy, more helpful, and less likely to lose your mail.

This works 70% of the time with Amazon. If the item is shipping from a vendor other than Amazon they may not agree to ship, but that should happen at checkout.

You could get ahead of the game and get your own drone. Amazon is not delivering with them yet, but you could go pick it up. —Keep Smilin’, RV Shrink

##rvt747

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7 thoughts on “How to shop online when on the road

  1. LMS

    For shipments, we just figure on spending a week in one location. I have Prime.

  2. RG Ackerman

    Great read on online shopping and shipping while on the road (OTR). Good to know that, if asked, most CGs would accept your deliveries. So much more available online, and most times, less expensive than brick and mortar stores. Plus, the added Peace of mind if a product fails or doesn’t work for you, you have a way to return/exchange it without having to backtrack to a previous location to do so. Thanks.

  3. RE

    One problem I have encountered, when FedEx and USPS are involved is, the FedEx label will many times have an “Expected Delivery” date. It usually takes an extra day to transfer to USPS and if the “ED” hasn’t come yet, the package will be held either by FedEx or the Post Office will hold the package’s delivery. I have questioned people from both and they just, with a blank stare, point at the label and say, this is the expected delivery date……
    Try as you may, some won’t release the package before that date.

  4. John

    “I was told if you use the words, “PO Box” in your address, Amazon automatically ships your package through the USPS.”
    Not so. Amazon also ships by UPS and FedEx to my PO Box address.

  5. Gregory Illes

    Recently (early part of 2016), Amazon has been shipping all of my Prime stuff via USPS. I asked the carrier about it, and she seemed to think a new contract was in place. Only time will tell, but for now USPS seems to be the shipper of the day, which should make “PO Box” shipments way easier.

  6. Lynn Hudgens

    One minor suggestion to add: If you are expecting a package to arrive at a specific location for a set time frame, always confirm that the item is in stock (not on back order). I’ve missed that a couple of times and was disappointed/frustrated when the item(s) did not arrive on time. Oops!

  7. Grumpy Old Timer

    We are full timers, so every online order is delivered to us “on the road”. We use Amazon for most things and have a Prime account. We use the wish list feature to accumulate our order over time. Then, when we will be in one place for at least several days we place our order. Prime customers get 2nd day delivery by FedEx or UPS. We have experienced no problems having orders sent to the campground we are staying in. Just create a new address in your Amazon account for the current CG. And, we have our mail service forward our mail the same way. When we know we will be in one place long enough, we have it sent. EZ PEZY.

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